Activities & Events
The essence of Honors Scholars is displayed in numerous activities and events throughout the year. Faculty and students plan these events to further develop and enhance critical thinking and moral reasoning skills. Below is a list of Honors Scholars activities and events that occur in a typical semester.
Fall 2009: Honors Scholars meet Wednesday nights from 9:00 to 11:00 P.M.
During the 2nd week of September, we read and discussed the following utopias/dystopias at a Bed and Breakfast near Mansfield, trying to discover common themes, as well as the merits and demerits of this genre of literature.:
1. Kafka, THE TRIAL
2. Ira Levin, THE PERFECT DAY
3. St. Thomas More, UTOPIA
4. B.F. Skinner, WALDEN TWO
5. Samuel Butler, EREHWON
6. Yevgeny Zamyatin, WE
7. Margaret Atwood, ORYX AND CRAKE
8. Ray Bradbury, FAHRENHEIT 451
9. William Gibson, NEUROMANCER
10. William Young, CUMA’S VOICE: AN ENVIRONMENTAL UTOPIA
11. Garrett Jones, OURTOPIA
12. William Morris, NEWS FROM NOWHERE
13. Hermann Hesse, THE GLASS BEAD GAME
14. John Brunner, THE SHEEP LOOK UP
15. Thomas Peyser, UTOPIA AND COSMOPOLIS: BLOBALIZATION IN THE ERA OF AMERICAN LITERARY REALISM
16. Charles Stross, ACCELERANDO
17. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, HERLAND
18. Tommaso Campanella, THE CITY OF THE SUN
19. Walter M. Miller, CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ
20. Brian Stableford, THE FOUNTAINS OF YOUTH
Sunday Mornings with The New York Times
On numerous Sunday mornings throughout the semester, students and faculty of IMPACT gathered to read and discuss Sunday's The New York Times . While enjoying breakfast, the IMPACT members read, introduce to the group, and ask questions about articles contained within the newspaper. This activity keeps IMPACT members updated on current events and provides a venue for IMPACT students to critically examine media sources.
IMPACT Discusses the Adversarial System
Former BGSU student and law clerk Michael Meuti spoke to IMPACT about the adversarial court system of the Unites States' justice system. With Mike Meuti's experience, IMPACT students were able to gain an adequate comprehension of the adversarial system and the problems therein. IMPACT students then discussed the advantages and disadvantages of having such a system, explored alternative legal practices applied in other countries, and concocted possible solutions to prevalent problems within the current adversarial system.
Scary Ideas for Halloween
In celebration of Halloween, IMPACT invited BGSU students and colleagues to join the group for Halloween snacks, costume contests, and a discussion of scary ideas within the discipline of Philosophy. Professor Monica Gerrek introduced IMPACT students and faculty to three philosophical theories of ‘self'. The group spent time discussing the definitional disagreements between the three views, and Dr. Gerrek aided in discussion of the ‘scary' implications that each view might possess for society.
Faculty in Residence
For the second year, the two IMPACT faculty advisors reside within the very residence hall of the IMPACT learning community. This location of residence, combined with the location of faculty offices on the IMPACT floor, provides IMPACT students with an exceptional availability of faculty interaction.
Drs. Browne and Kubasek, the IMPACT faculty advisors, also organize and provide programming opportunities to the entire Offenhauer residence hall. The fall semester contained programs important to a major political event, the presidential election. Successful programs explored comparisons between candidates' environmental policies, value preferences, and reasons to vote for each candidate. Drs. Browne and Kubasek will continue to provide programming and study opportunities to the hall and IMPACT students through the Faculty in Residence initiative.
IMPACT Members Aid Dr. Paul Moore in Progressive Changes to the University Honors Program
Dr. Paul Moore, professor and director of the University Honors Program, came to visit IMPACT students to receive feedback on the critical thinking initiative within the Honors program as well as to seek aid in furthering the vision of the Honors program. IMPACT students discussed the future plans for the program with Dr. Moore and agreed to meet with him throughout the year to help develop his program ideas. Monthly meetings are held with groups of IMPACT students and Dr. Moore in attempts to develop many of these ideas into fruition.
Lest Innocent Blood be Shed by Phillip Hallie
1. The Question of What it Means to be ‘Good'
IMPACT students, faculty, and Dr. Monica Gerrek of the Philosophy department gathered to discuss a common summer reading experience, Lest Innocent Blood be Shed by Phillip Hallie. This book details the history of Le Chambon, a village in Southern France that contained citizens who saved hundreds of Jewish children during World War II.
IMPACT students Kevin Minnick, Heather Tewksbury, Meredith Fisher, and Dan Tagliarina presented the group with four theories of what it means to be a ‘good' person. With the aid of the theories of Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, and Martha Nussbaum, the group formulated arguments for the best ethical system within which to live one's life.
IMPACT students developed skills in presentation, understanding of ethics, and practiced the ability to use recently acquired information in the formation of an argument.
2. Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of the Actions of those in Lest Innocent Blood be Shed
What would Sigmund Freud say about the supposed ‘goodness' of the people of Le Chambon? After the first discussion of Phillip Hallie's book, IMPACT members gathered again to discuss what another great thinker, Sigmund Freud, might say about the story. To begin the exploration, Freud enthusiast Dr. Kenneth Shemberg of the Psychology department met with IMPACT to present a psychoanalytic analysis of the characters' actions within the book.
IMPACT students discussed the major ideas of a famous thinker and integrated the ideas of the book, applying Freudian analysis to real human behavior. In addition, the students critically evaluated the underlying assumptions of Sigmund Freud's theories.
University Honors Program Bashore Scholarship Recipients
Each Year, the University Honors Program offers the opportunity to win a Bashore Scholarship opportunity. Each applicant must submit an essay, and finalists are interviewed before final recipients are named. This year, four IMPACT students received the Bashore Scholarship: Brittany Raburn, Bobbie Jo Shockley, Sarah Mercier, and Kevin Minnick.
IMPACT Phi Beta Kappa Members
This prestigious Honors Society has in its midst three current members of IMPACT: Bobbie Jo Shockley (Senior), Dan Tagliarina (Senior), and Garrett Coyle (Graduate Student and Assistant).
IMPACT Travels to Toronto
In late September, IMPACT traveled to experience the sights, sounds, and differences of Toronto. While in the Canadian city, the group enjoyed touring the University of Toronto, attending book festivals, and exploring the Ontario Museum of Science. The group also saw the plays Private Jokes, Public Places and Cause Celebre . While Private Jokes, Public Places explored power relationships and independence, Cause Celebre approached the abstract concept of justice and control in relationships.
IMPACT Running Team in Toronto
While in Toronto, IMPACT Running Team members were early to rise in preparation for Toronto's 5k and half-marathon races. Dr. Browne ran the half-marathon, and Dr. Kubasek, Barb Keeley, Kevin Minnick, and Anna Haney raced in the 5k.
Oleanna , a Film by David Mamet
David Mamet's film, Oleanna , tells the tale of the fragile relationship between a professor and his student. It also explores the dangers of miscommunication. Using the film as a stimulus, the group asked important questions about responsibility, language, perception, interpretation, and power. The evening's discussion continued onto the group's listproc thereafter.
Dogville , a Film by Lars Von Trier
One night, a group of IMPACT students gathered into the lounge to watch and discuss the film Dogville , directed by Lars Von Trier. The movie is a pessimistic look at human behavior and the possible evils that may stem from kindness and good intentions. Viewing such a film allows IMPACT students to contemplate issues of human ontology while also providing an argument in a less typical medium.
Coach Fitz Discussion
Enticed by an article in The New York Times , IMPACT invited Honors students from critical thinking courses to join the group in a discussion about the article about Coach Billy Fitzgerald, otherwise known as Coach Fitz. This article detailed aspects of his high school basketball and baseball coaching career in which he was once praised, but is now scorned for his ‘harsh' disciplinary tactics.
Coach Fitz was a tough coach who used extreme tactics in order to improve the performance and mentality of his players. It was ‘hard-love'. Although these tactics were praised by former students and athletes, recent players and their parents wish for a more pleasant, nurturing coach. Parents complained of mistreatment and not enough playing time for their offspring.
Questions explored in the IMPACT discussion were, “what is the best way to teach,” and “At what point is discipline considered abuse?” These questions were pondered by the group after student presenters proposed different solutions based on educational theories of four academic disciplines. IMPACT students and guests discussed the important issues and questions that arise from different pedagogical assumptions.
IMPACT Student Publications
Several articles were published by IMPACT students, with the co authorship of IMPACT faculty, this year. Published articles are displayed on a bulletin board located on the IMPACT floor of Offenhauer and are as follows:
Crosby, Michelle. “Creating the Desire to Use Critical Thinking” Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across Disciplines , Spring 2005.
Frondorf, Alex. “Universalistic Moral Principles and Child Labor” Houston International Law Journal , Fall 2004.Minnick, Kevin. “The Unnecessary Tension between Learning Communities and Cognitive Development” College Student Journal , Spring 2005.
Fall 2004 Learning Opportunities
Each semester students participate in a learning opportunity, or seminar, taught by an IMPACT faculty member. The seminars are small and provide students (and faculty) with the opportunity to learn without the incentive of being graded. Seminars often lead to meaningful discussion ontopics of paramount importance.
Dr. Kubasek offered a year-long learning opportunity for those IMPACT members who wished to participate on the BGSU Mock Trial Team.
Dr. Browne offered a learning opportunity for those students who wanted to learn how to construct an argument of their own. Although IMPACT students are familiar and talented at evaluating arguments, it was realized that IMPACT students lack practice in constructing their own arguments. Therefore, a learning opportunity was provided for interested students. Participating students provided a summary of the lessons they learned to the rest of the IMPACT students following the learning opportunity's completion.
IMPACT Students Enjoy Success on the BGSU Mock Trial Team
The BGSU National Mock Trial Team, headed by Dr. Kubasek, consists of BGSU students, eleven of whom are IMPACT members (while strong assistance is provided by four other IMPACT students). Team members must prepare both a defense and prosecution of the defendant in a criminal trial. Such preparation requires the use of critical thinking skills in both building an argument and finding flaws in the opposition's argument.
Lawyers, as well as witness, have integral roles to play in arguing on either side of the case. The Bowling Green team competed with dozens of other schools, and each time improved the presentation of their argument. Below are some of the specific accomplishments of the Mock Trial Team.
The BGSU Mock Trial Team traveled to Philadelphia to compete against such schools as Yale, Duke, Penn, and George Washington in the University of Pennsylvania "Quaker Classic" Invitational. One of BG's two teams took first place in the tournament with a record of eight wins and no losses. On the individual level, Kevin Minnick and Jenny Coon won Best Attorney awards for their performances.
Buffalo, New York
The teams journeyed to Buffalo, New York, for the University at Buffalo "On the Falls" Invitational.There, the team enjoyed similar success; one BGSU team took first place, edging out 20 teams including Buffalo, Yale, Miami (OH), Syracuse, and Michigan State. The other BGSU team also placed in the top ten, with a record of five wins and three losses. Kevin Minnick won a Best Attorney award at the tournament, and Meredith Fisher and Alicia Weiss won Best Witness awards.
The Mock Trial Team competed in a sixty-four team tournament at Yale, finishing in second place. They beat such teams as Harvard, Amherst, Princeton, Brown, Georgetown, and Yale. Kevin Minnick won an individual best attorney award at Yale.
The Mock Trial team lost the Championship by just one solitary point, to the University of Texas. The team out performed teams from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri, and the University of Chicago, plus many other liberal arts colleges.
Regional Tournament Three teams from this tournament win places at the national tournament in Iowa where the national champion will be decided in early April. Four additional teams receive places to a different national tournament where they will compete with out teams for two additional slots at the national championship.
The BGSU Mock Trial Team won second place in the regional tournament. They, in fact, defeated the prestigious University of Miami's two top teams in direct competition. The team will head to Des Moines, Iowa in early April to compete against thirty-nine other teams for the national championship title. Kevin Minnick, Meredith Fisher, and Hunter Brown received individual awards for their performances at the regional competition.
IMPACT Mock Trial Team members include Kevin Minnick, Alicia Weiss, Hunter Brown, Jenny Coon, Holly Barnes, Corinne Staggs, Jason Mellen, Allison Smith, Dan Tagliarina, Bethany Nanamaker, and Meredith Fisher, with additional assistance provided by Garrett Coyle, Bobbie Jo Shockley, Curtis Bunner, and Amanda Valentine.
IMPACT Lounge Features Leonardo DaVinci Painting and Freudian Interpretation
Depicted in the IMPACT lounge is a representation of Leonardo DaVinci's Virgin and Child with St. Anne . Several great thinkers, namely Sigmund Freud, have analyzed Leonardo DaVinci's painting. After reading DaVinci's Codex Atlanticus , Freud began to analyze DaVinci's work. Freud found that one quote in particular related to what he saw in this painting.
Freud saw a vulture in the virgin's robe. In addition, Freud pointed out that when one follows the contours of the robe, the tail leads into the baby's mouth representing a “passive homosexual fantasy.”
This art piece is an addition to the growing art collection of IMPACT. While IMPACT is known for its focus on written argument evaluation, we are a group that also focuses on ideas. Examining ideas and arguments in different media enhances our abilities as critical thinkers and lifelong learners.
IMPACT Students Make a Book Contribution
At the beginning of the semester, Dr. Neil Browne and former BGSU professor Dr. Stuart Keeley made a plea to IMPACT students, asking for help on a book the two professors are co-authoring. This book, A is for Asking: Questions for Success in College , focuses on the importance of questions in the learning and the college experience. Individual IMPACT students submitted, to Drs. Browne and Keeley, personal testimonials detailing problems he or she encountered during college and the questions that helped him or her successfully overcome those problems. Students also contributed musical knowledge by suggesting popular song lyrics that detail the importance of seeking alternative viewpoints.
IMPACT Students Assist in the Teaching of Critical Thinking Courses
Because of the developing Critical Chinking initiative in the Honors Program, there has been an increase in the amount of introductory critical thinking courses offered to Honors freshman. This increase caused Dr. Moore to ask IMPACT students to contribute their efforts by providing teaching assistance to the Critical Thinking professors. Participating IMPACT students provided aid and leadership in the classroom, planned and presented lessons to the class, and provided consultation to the students. In addition, these IMPACT students were able to practice, enhance, and teach skills that they see as imperative to being better students and better citizens.